USDA rules will require safety labels on tenderized meat
WASHINGTON - The government will soon require labels on packages of beef tenderized by machines so shoppers know to cook it thoroughly.
The Agriculture Department said Wednesday the labels will be required starting in May 2016. Mechanically tenderized meat is poked with needles or blades to make it tender, a process that can transfer bacteria from the outside of the cut of beef to the inside.
The labels will say that the meat has been "mechanically tenderized," ''blade tenderized" or "needle tenderized." They also will include cooking instructions to ensure consumers cook the meat long enough to kill any bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been six outbreaks of illness linked to mechanically tenderized beef in the last 15 years.
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